McDonald: Jacob deGrom Is Great, But Keep Holding Your Breath Mets’ Nation

Okay, Mets’ Nation, collectively exhale.

Sure, you can take a punch in the stomach like losing Juan Lagares for the season, but losing Jacob deGrom, or at the very least not having him as effective as his usual self?

Well you might as well pack in it.

No worries. DeGrom showed no signs of the hyperextended elbow as he cruised along giving up one run on seven innings and recorded 13 strikeouts in the 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

“He had all his pitches going,” said manager Mickey Callaway. “He elevated the fastball really well. He did a real good job at getting the ball up.”

Oh, the Mets need this Jacob deGrom. If the have any hope for this season, then they need their ace to be in top form for the next four months.

But deGrom isn’t enough. Because the Nationals have Max Scherzer and the Phillies counter with Jake Arrieta.

And before you think Noah Syndergaard will be enough, remember Stephen Strasburg and Aaron Nola are on the Nationals and Phillies, respectively too.

No, for the Mets to have any chance this season, they are going to need production from the trenches and that means Steven Matz needs to be the pitcher the Mets envisioned back in 2015, not this middle of the rotation nibbler.

Callaway knows this and split his two aces having Matz go tomorrow and Syndergaard on Sunday.

Will it help?

“It will only help if the other guys step up,” Callaway said. “They have to. I told them in spring training, whether it’s fair or not, I told them, ‘Our season is going to go the way you guys go.’”  

Take the Jason Vargas dumpster fire out of this.   Matz needs to me for of a front of the rotation starter and Zach Wheeler needs to start pitching up his potential.

Sure, it would be nice to see Vargas remember how to pitch, but if he doesn’t soon, someone like Seth Lugo will take his spot.

Matz and Wheeler are the guys for the Mets because both have shown flashes of brilliance – more Matz than Wheeler – and we expect more from both.

Matz looked better as of late too. Unlike Wheeler, who owns a 5.92 ERA, the lefty has a respectable 3.86 ERA, looking solid over his past few starts. He’s keeping the Mets in the games and giving them a chance to win.

Maybe it will help Matz that he has Devin Mesoraco behind the plate, who they all rave about.

“Those guys are going out there and throwing the pitches,” Mesoraco said. “It’s a nice compliment, but those guys need to go out there and perform.”

So be it’s Matz’s turn tomorrow to improve on his 1-3 record. He has been okay, but still needs to be better. As does Wheeler as well, who seems to have regressed after the Tommy John surgery.

So yeah, it’s nice to have deGrom back and Syndergaard is Syndergaard, but for the Mets to have any hope here, both Matz and Wheeler need to step up.

Hold your breath Mets’ Nation, because Steven Matz is now on the clock.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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